Switching Managed IT Providers: A Step-By-Step Guide

Working with a managed IT provider can offer a wide range of benefits for businesses and other organisations. Specifically, managed IT providers can help companies manage their IT infrastructure more efficiently and cost-effectively, as well as enhancing security and streamlining operations.

Given the important role managed IT providers can play, then, you need to think carefully about which one you choose for your business. You may find that, after a while, your existing provider isn’t doing what you need them to do, or your partnership just isn’t working for whatever reason – in which case, it’s time to consider switching to a different one.

But switching between managed IT providers is a substantial consideration, and it’s one that considers careful forethought and planning. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll take you through the process of switching between managed IT providers and discuss the main points to bear in mind.

Assess your existing IT environment

Before you start looking for a new IT provider, you need to evaluate your current IT environment. This should entail the creation of an inventory of your existing assets, including hardware, software and network components. You should also identify critical systems, applications and services.

In addition, you need to consider your current security posture – including firewalls, encryption protocols and antivirus software – along with data backup and recovery procedures, and software licencing and compliance, identifying any issues that might need to be addressed.

Evaluate the kind of support you need

You should also think in detail about what you need from your new IT provider. There’s obviously a reason why you want to switch – so you need to be clear about where your existing provider is falling short, and where your new IT partner needs to improve.

Consider the specific IT needs of your business, with attention to future growth and scalability. Some organisations might just need hardware, a service desk and cybersecurity, while others may require a more rounded offering – like that offered by Solsoft – based on long-term IT strategy rather than short-termism.

At Solsoft, we partner our clients with a virtual CIO, empowering them to get the most out of the tech they invest in at a fraction of the cost of alternative options. A technology alignment manager also helps clients to make informed decisions on IT strategy; as our TAMs do not receive commission, they can offer objective guidance on your IT needs.

Research potential IT providers

Thorough research is essential when switching to a new managed IT provider. The obvious place to look is online; look at potential IT providers and see what previous clients have had to say about them. You should also check industry publications and seek recommendations from peers.

Assess each potential provider’s experience and expertise. Have they served organisations in your industry, and of a similar size to yours? This is an important question when evaluating whether or not a possible IT provider will be able to meet your needs and objectives. Look at their certifications, qualifications and client testimonials, which you should be able to find on their website.

Arrange interviews with prospective providers to get a better idea of their capabilities. Ask them, for example, about their approach to security, disaster recovery and how they monitor cybersecurity threats; these are all key areas of concern.

Planning and executing the transition

Switching managed IT providers is a serious undertaking. This in itself can act as a deterrent for many companies, unhappy with their existing provider but reluctant to move to a new one as their current IT partner is so embedded in their system. However, well-planned migrations can reap real rewards.

This is why you should work with your new managed IT provider to develop a detailed transition plan addressing potential challenges, such as downtime and data migration. Relevant stakeholders, including both employees and clients, must be kept informed about the transition and how it will affect them; training for new tools and systems should be provided where necessary.

The transition between providers should be monitored closely while it’s still ongoing. Robust testing must be conducted to ensure that any issues are identified sooner, so they can be resolved promptly. Both your outgoing and your new IT provider should work together, coordinating their activities to ensure a smooth transition without unnecessary disruption.

Review and adjust

After the transition, you should conduct a post-transition review to assess how your new managed IT provider is performing against your KPIs. Seek feedback from employees and clients, and ensure there are mechanisms for ongoing communication and improvement with your new IT partner.

Hold regular review meetings with your managed IT provider to discuss performance and address any issues that might arise. Your new partner should be prepared to adapt and adjust their service in line with your changing business requirements, which are bound to evolve over time. At Solsoft, we’re passionate about making cutting-edge IT services accessible to small and medium-sized businesses and providing exceptional customer service. Get in touch with us today to find out more about what we can do for your organisation.